NEW DELHI: India's Bharti Airtel said on Tuesday it had become the first company in the country to offer high-speed Internet services using fourth-generation (4G) telecommunications technology.
The company said high-speed wireless broadband “has the potential to transform India” and to provide a platform for “building the country's digital economy.” ”Today's launch is a major milestone for India and Airtel,” Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal said in a statement.
Bharti rolled out the 4G wireless broadband services in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata and is working on launching advanced technology networks in other parts of the country.
With one of the largest pools of young people in the world, India will see massive growth in consumption of data and content over mobile devices and proliferation of mobile commerce, analysts say.
4G allows mobile phone users to surf the Internet, video conference and download music, video and other content at a rate several times faster than 3G services that are still being rolled out across the country.
Analysts say India's rural areas offer huge market potential but erecting infrastructure to support high-speed networks will be costly, making urban areas the immediate battlegrounds for customers.
The arrival of 4G comes as India's fast-growing telecoms sector is reeling from a huge corruption scandal in which a former telecom minister is alleged to have underpriced 2G licences to favour some companies, costing the treasury up to $39 billion.